Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 5, No. 2, 2006
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Robert J. Lewis
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Bernard Dubé
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  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
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Eric Bertrand
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Kapal Harnal
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Magdalena Magiera
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Marc Fortier
Bernard Dubé
Remigio Valdes de Hoyos
Mylène Gervais
Christina Coleman
Laura Hollick
Louise Jalbert
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward



Rosemary Scanlon

by Lydia Schrufer


I had been visiting student exhibitions and galleries because I wanted to find out how young artists feel about their new experiences as well as their thoughts on the careers they have chosen.

Rosemary Scanlon is a dynamic young artist who is already launching what promises to be a very successful art career. She’s only 23 -- in her last year at Concordia University in Montreal -- and not wasting any time making her mark on the ‘scene.’ When I first came across her work (2004), she was exhibiting very large, passionate portraits. Her most recent work features photographs, and although they are not as technically accomplished as her painting, they demonstrate a willingness of the artist to explore different aspects of art making.

Rosemary very graciously agreed to answer some questions about being new to the art scene. I first asked her to tell me more about her photographs.

ROSEMARY SCANLON: In the series of photographs entitled Absolution, I explore our urban landscape. Cities of concrete and glass are built on the ideals of modernism: purity of light, form and space. Constructions of glass and concrete, while built to deliver feelings of purity and transcendence to the city’s inhabitants, often leave the individual feeling remote and isolated.

© Rosemary Scanlon

My photographs explore the melding of sky and concrete and the beauty found in it. I also make use of light as a metaphor for transcendence and enlightenment. Filtering in through windows and flooding open spaces, it can be seen as means to escape but also of illumination. I explore constructions of form onto form and negations of space into space: windows, corridors and openings are reoccurring in my work as they map an endless sense of time and space. Of whiteness, nothingness. In my cropping and specific choice of subject matter I try to negate the complexions of our milieu, to recreate an endlessness that cities often have.

© Rosemary Scanlon
© Rosemary Scanlon

Absolution pays homage to modernism with photographs based on formalism and its quiet austere beauty, silenced moments of contemplation.

LYDIA SCHRUFER: Have you always wanted to be an artist ? Did your need to make art manifest early?

ROSEMARY SCANLON: There were a few early indications, but when it came down to it, I just knew.

LYDIA SCHRUFER: You are a representational artist, did you ever feel pressured towards abstraction?

ROSEMARY SCANLON: No, I never felt inclined toward abstraction and no one questioned my choices. I think my teachers could see that I had a clear direction and gave me the freedom to find my own expression. I am grateful for that because I know that art schools weren’t always like that, especially in the 60s and 70s.

© Rosemary Scanlon

LYDIA SCHRUFER: You are represented by the Hollinger Collins Gallery whose website features your photography. How does someone as young as yourself manage to get such good gallery representation, and are your peers as fortunate?

ROSEMARY SCANLON: I think it is important to be part of an artistic community. I participate in any and all events that come my way: fund raisers, auctions, school exhibitions, I’ve even curated. I would advise all aspiring artists to apply for everything that comes their way and to take advantage of all opportunities. Among my peers, I notice that those who went out there every day and got involved are the ones exhibiting. But for sure, I am incredibly lucky and have been in the right place at the right time.

LYDIA SCHRUFER: Do you, in the future, see yourself as primarily a painter or would you prefer to continue as a multi disciplinary artist exploring different mediums?

© Rosemary Scanlon

© Rosemary Scanlon

ROSEMARY SCANLON: I don’t know. I am doing photography now because it’s conducive to my lifestyle and present mindset, but I know I will always paint. I would also like to try video.

LYDIA SCHRUFER: Have you been disappointed with any aspect of the art world?

ROSEMARY SCANLON: As mentioned earlier, I have been very fortunate so far.

LYDIA SCHRUFER: Do you mostly work in the school studios or are you set up somewhere else?

ROSEMARY SCANLON: I have a studio for painting and I use the school darkrooms for my photographic work.

© Rosemary Scanlon

LYDIA SCHRUFER: Are you confident you’ll be able to make a living as an artist or will you augment your income in other way?

ROSEMARY SCANLON: Right now I’m working full time, going to school and juggling my art career. I like to work, I like to be an active participant in life and in my community. I don’t want to be an artist shut away in a studio. I think if you are going to make art about the world, you have to participate in it and then step back. It is a juggling act but art is always in your mind, you are always taking mental notes and then hurrying home or to the studio to paint it, photograph it or film it . . . whatever is called for.

I have no doubt that Rosemary Scanlon will indeed do whatever is called for to succeed at her art career. If you would like to know more about the artist, visit the Hollinger Collins web site at


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